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Deer harvest takes a dive

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 3:11 p.m. CDT

The seven-day firearm deer season for 2013 is over. Illinois’ preliminary total is 74,191 in comparison to last year’s total of 99,546 whitetails shows a decrease of more than 25,000 deer for the seven-day season.

The totals for the second-season were 18,483 showing a decrease from last year’s 27,213.

Now I know that 25,000 deer decrease sounds like a lot, but several factors enter into it.

During the second segment of the firearm season, opening day saw falling temperatures and gusty winds throughout the stat. Southern Illinois saw rain/freezing rain turning to snow throughout Friday. Frigid temperatures persisted Friday and Saturday, with single digit lows throughout the state. Temperatures increased slightly on Sunday with snow falling much of the day in northern Illinois. Windy conditions prevailed throughout much of the season.

The weather was not the entire reason for the reduction in this year’s harvest. When all the totals are in for the rest of the deer season, the IDNR’s task force will study the results county by county.

Another factor entering into the totals was the effects of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). The total effects of this disease is not currently known. Some areas were hit harder, some not so bad. There were areas in Bureau County where farmers reported 6-8 dead animals near a creek bed. Statewide totals have not been published yet.

Illinois’ deer population is still in good shape. Our hunters will be out there again next year. By the way, for those who hunted during the second season, congratulations. To brave the cold, you are true hunters.

January is just around the corner and our first big banquet will be the National Wild Turkey Federation on Jan. 25 at the Met. Mark your calendars. All the info will be passed on in my next column.

Happy New Year!!!

Lee Wahlgren is the BCR Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at pdub52@gmail.com.

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